Question about 1 Corinthians 2:9 and Heaven

So I came across reference to 1 Corinthians 2:9 while reading St. Faustina’s Diary, and I did some research. From preliminary examination of the text, it would seem St. Paul is referring to wisdom and the revelation of wisdom through the Spirit which is not available to men on their own here on earth when he says:

“9 - But, as it is written: That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 - But to us God hath revealed them, by this Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”

So it would seem that this passage is not about heaven, but rather an understanding of Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation here on earth?

I did a search online and an overwhelming number of (non-catholic) commentators all agree that though this passage can be applied to heaven in a future sense in a way, this is not what St. Paul is referencing.

But then I found that in (CCC) 1027 it states:

This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life, light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father’s house, the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise: "no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him."

I don’t understand this, why does the CCC state this, even though it seems that St. Paul is talking more about immediate knowledge that all Christians and followers of Chirst can and should receive here on earth?

St. Fuastina seems to use the passage to speak to man’s incomprehension of heaven? I am so confused on this one?

**What is the Catholic Churches stance on this, given the context of 1 Corinthians 2 as a whole?

I guess what i’m asking is if Paul says that God has revealed his secrets to us through the spirit, then why do we reference this passage in the CCC as a condition of not knowing what things heaven holds out for us?

Please help me understand if you can…

Nobody can help me out with this one? :frowning:

If no one has come forward, maybe you should restate your question more succinctly?:slight_smile:


Ok, how do I refure the following things i’ve read online:

We visited a church where the preacher spoke about heaven and used the Scripture that says “Eye hath not seen nor ear heard nor entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for them that love Him”. It may not be incorrect to say this, because we cannot even imagine what heaven will be like and what God has prepared for those of us who love Him. **However, the context reveals some exciting truths about redemption and deliverance, rather than about heaven. **That passage first appears in Isaiah 64:4 in a context where it explains God’s miraculous deliverance – very possibly referring to when Israel was in captivity in Egypt - they had no idea what God was going to do regarding their deliverance – the Passover, the whole of the Exodus, the Red Sea crossing, the manna, the revealing of the Law, the Tabernacle, etc. No human eye had foreseen, no human ear had heard ahead of time, nor had any man even thought or dreamed of, what God had planned to do for His people Israel. This passage is then cited in 1 Cor. 2:9 in context, not about heaven, but about what God had planned in the way of Jesus being the sacrificial lamb and paying for our sins and the sending of the Holy Spirit, etc. The exciting thing (to me, anyway) is that in the Corinthians passage, after quoting Isaiah, the very next verse (1 Cor. 2:10) says: “But God HAS revealed them to us through His Spirit”.

I guess what we are saying, first of all, is that the passage he used really does not specifically have to do with heaven, but rather with God’s plan of redemption, and, second of all, it WAS unseen (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10-12) in the Old Testament, but it is no longer hidden – it has been revealed ! Furthermore, we believe there is a really neat connection between the context in Isaiah 64 and the passage in Ephesians 3:20 but I’ll let you pursue that on your own if you wish to do so.

1 Corinthians 2:9 is a favorite verse for those who like to talk about the future joys of heaven. It sounds great:

What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him -

When read all by itself, it sounds like our future eternal home is going to be something that is otherworldly. It is going to be something that we cannot even imagine.

When we stop to really look at the verse in its biblical context, it really says little, if anything, about heaven.

The context for this verse begins back in 1 Corinthians 1:18 where Paul says that the “word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing.” The world listens to the Christian message and laughs it off as foolishness. Jewish folks, who read their Old Testament Scriptures, cannot accept the Christian message of a crucified Messiah because it does not fit their understanding of the Scriptures and their expectations of the Messiah. Greeks (all non-Jews) cannot accept a crucified and resurrected Savior because it makes no sense. Dead people do not come back to life. It is foolishness.

Paul goes on in chapter 2 to make the point that we do not come to a saving understanding of the gospel through manmade wisdom because natural wisdom rejects the gospel as nonsense. In our verse, 1 Corinthians 2:9 Paul argues that the gospel message is beyond our natural wisdom. This is Paul’s point when he says that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined”. The eye, the ear, and the heart (the inner person) are the natural means of gaining wisdom. But these means do not bring us to the truth of the Christian gospel. We need something more.

In 1 Corinthians 2:10, Paul tells us what it is that we need.

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

We need to work of the Spirit within us to reveal the truth and beauty of the Christian gospel. Paul goes on later in 2:14:

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

Paul’s concern in 1 Corinthians 1-2 has little or nothing to say about our eternal home. He is concerned to speak of the folly of the cross of Christ; the Christian gospel. The world says it is foolishness. The Spirit convinces us of its saving power.

1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.’" Some Christians have quoted this scripture out of its context in order to impress their fellow believers with the wonders that will await us when we finally enter God’s presence. While the glories of heaven will undoubtedly be marvelous and beyond our human imagining, that does not appear to be the primary message that Paul was trying to convey by his use of this quotation from Isaiah 64:4.

**The immediate context of the scripture is not discussing the future blessings of heaven, but the blessings that Christians receive right now through the work of the Holy Spirit. **Paul is describing how God gives His “secret wisdom” (1 Cor. 9:2) to believers right now, in this life. Christians have the ability though God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to understand things that were hidden to all mankind throughout the ages prior to the coming of Christ. Because we have a personal relationship with God and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we can understand “the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10). We have received “the Spirit who is from God” (v. 12), are “taught by the Spirit” (v. 13) and have “the mind of Christ” (v. 16). Certainly, prior to the coming of Christ and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon Christians, such insight and intimacy with God was something that “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived.”

If we go back to Isaiah 64:4, the verse Paul is quoting, and it’s context of sinful man not comprehending God, it is clearly not about heaven, but about God being like no other: “For from of old they have not heard nor perceived by ear, neither has the eye seen a God besides Thee.” Our God is awesome, beyond the sinner’s comprehension. And His wisdom in redemption is way beyond natural man’s ability to comprehend it (1 Corinthians 2:14). In fact, “the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
However, despite natural man’s inability to hear, see or comprehend the depths of God’s wisdom, plan and love, we learn in 1 Corinthians 2:10, “to us God has revealed them through the Spirit…even the depths of God.” Paul then goes on in verse 12-13 to share further how “we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we speak…” Did Paul speak much of heaven to the Corinthians? Not that we know of. But he certainly did spend a great deal of time speaking of the love of God made manifest in “Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (verse 2).
So, I’m persuaded that this passage is not speaking about heaven being beyond imagination in verses 8-9, nor is it in verse 10 speaking of the Spirit revealing things about heaven, as you suppose. Rather, the passage is devoid of any reference to (or intent to speak of) heaven, but is entirely focused on the wisdom of God in redemption—a wisdom the world missed and which never entered their ears, eyes or hearts, but which God has revealed to us who believe through the Spirit.

So again, how do I refute these thoughts, especially with CC 1027 stating:

This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life, light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father's house, the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise: "no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him."

Well we don’t know exactly what Heaven holds, yes we know that it is the Beatific vision, but have we been there and know what it exactly holds? Nope. Thats what it means, yes it has been revealed that we go to Heaven if we love God, and that we know it will be the Beatific vision.

Hope this helped, God Bless!:thumbsup:

Question as clear as I can state it:

**Does 1 Corinthians 2:9 speak about Heaven directly? And if it does not, why is it in the CCC 1027?

It does help, and thank you for answering, but cant one read the passage to mean that Paul was simply saying that people cannot know God through the senses or imagination but we need the Spirit, which he says right after, that we have???

How does it refer to Heaven?

I’m confused.

Actually, of all the scripture i’ve read, this is the only one I cant easily understand with reference to CCC 1027?

Any insight is gratefully appreciated!

These are some cross references,

James 1:12
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Psalm 31:19
How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you.

When you look at the verse

1 Corinthians 2:9

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love

Prepared? Where else does God have things prepared for us?

Remember Matthew 25 34

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

God Bless!:thumbsup:

Thanky you again. You make great points!

Does anyone else have any insight. I would love to hear from a few others at least.

:twocents: Same God here on earth as in Heaven.

A very good point, but the CCC text ties it directly to Heaven, if I read it correctly? Am I right?

Yes I agree absolutely. Jesus often speaks of the Kingdom of Heaven to mean either on earth or in heaven. When we love one another and love God, we can create a Kingdom of Heaven on earth. When we die we will be lifted up. Paul constantly talks about Jesus’ resurrection as being the first fruits of those who sleep, and that because of his death and resurrection we will all be given everlasting life.

So it’s a twofold gift. We are saved in this life to have a life free from sin, and we are saved to have everlasting life after death.

I absolutely agree with you, but how does one answer the critics words I posted earlier, about this passage not refering directly to Heaven, and how does one understand CCC 1027?

I mean Paul does answer the question in the following verse saying that the spirit provides the answer, so how does it still refer to Heaven?

I think you need to see what Paul had to say overall, and not cherry pick passages. Paul can ramble a bit, but ultimately he says that Christ’s death and resurrection is our salvation, and our salvation includes our life on earth and in the afterlife.

Point taken! Thanks.I agree.

I’d love to hear other thoughts, if anyone has them.

Can anyone else address give insight here? Is the lack of responses because people don’t know? I’m really struggling with this passage! :(:frowning:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit